Civil rights champion Julian Bond dies at 75

Julian Bond, a leader of the 1960’s civil rights movement and former chairman of the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (NAACP), died on Saturday night. He was 75.

He died in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, after a brief illness.

Bond was a major figure in the fight for racial equality throughout his life. He was one of the original leaders of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, as well as the co-founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center.

“He started when he was about 17 and he went to 75 and I don’t know a single time when he was not involved in some phase of the civil rights movement,” former Ambassador Andrew Young told the Associated Press.

Bond had a long career in politics and was first elected to the Georgia House of Representatives in 1965. However, several members of the House initially refused his seat due to his stance against the war in Vietnam.

The case went to the Supreme Court, which ruled unanimously in Bond’s favour, saying that the legislature “denied him freedom of speech.”

He ultimately served in the Georgia House until 1976, and then in the Senate until 1986. Later on in 1998, Bond was elected as the board chairman of the NAACP, and served in the position for 10 years.

“Justice and equality was the mission that spanned his life,” President Barack Obama said in a statement. “Julian Bond helped change this country for the better. And what better way to be remembered than that.”

“You can use the term giant, champion, trail blazer — there’s just not enough adjectives in the English language to describe the life and career of Julian Bond,” Doug Jones, a former U.S. attorney in Birmingham, Alabama told the AP.

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